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Besser Jan 3rd, 2009 12:11 PM

Tanzania or Kenya in Dec. 2009--looking for some advice!
Hello everyone,

We are trying to plan a safari for christmas vacation next year and are in need of some expert Fodors advice.

Last year we went to Mala Mala(S. Africa), Jack's Camp (botswana), Kwetsani (Botswana), and Duma Tau (Botswana) over christmas. My husband and I have been to Kenya and Tanzania but my parents who we will be traveling with have only been on the Southern Africa trip I just described.

So we are thinking about two options with about 12 days of actual safari time. Note we would like to fly whenever we can.

-Begin with 2 nights in Samburu, Kenya.
-Then travel to the Maasai Mara and stay for 3 or 4 nights there in one or two different lodges.
-Then fly to Nairobi and then the Serengeti for 4 nights --probably at mobile camps unless there is a better lodge suggestion, we want to try to see the migration and are looking for 5* accomodations.
-End with Ndutu for 2 nights or do the crater for 2 nights.

-Begin with one or two nights in the Ngorongo Crater.
-Then do 4 nights in the Serengeti in mobile camps.
-Travel to Southern Tanzania and divide up the rest of the days between Selous, Katavi, and Ruaha.

We want to have the best wildlife sightings possible and would love to see some of the migration, but it is not the most important priority. One of the members of the group is a big photographer so they want the best shots possible. We are afraid southern Tanzania would not offer us the best sightings and a lower diversity of animals.

Any thoughts or suggestions everyone has for us would be great! Thanks for your help, as usual we could not survive trip planning without this forum!

atravelynn Jan 3rd, 2009 03:24 PM

Though I have not been to Southern Tanzania, I believe it is very hot and humid in Dec and the water levels from the short rains mean wildlife is more dispersed. I won't consider Dec for a visit and would only go to that area July through Oct.

Therefore I'd pick #1.

If you stay 3 nights in the Mara, I'd only stay one place. Maybe even one place for 4 nights.

I think mobiles in the Serengeti would be your best bet if the price is within your budget. If not a mobile, then maybe Ndutu Lodge as the migration will be in the Southern part of the Serengeti at Christmas.

I'd end with the Crater after your 4 nights in the Serengeti, unless going to the crater first and finishing with the Serengeti worked out better.

That Option #1 would be a great trip for wildlife, both variety and quantity, along with beautiful and varied landscapes.

Besser Jan 4th, 2009 07:12 AM

Hi Atravelynn,

Thank you for your very informative and quick response. I really appreciate all of your thoughts. I wonder if there is anyone out there who has been to Southern Tanzania who might have more insight on that area, but I think your point about the weather that time of year is a valid one.

Do you know what the weather will be like in December in the Mara and serengeti? My Dad is always concerned about rain and I didn't know about how much we could expect. We got lucky in Southern Africa last year with not much rain, but he is afraid to go back there because of the rain and thought there would be less rain in East Africa at that time of year.

I think we are going to go with mobile camping in the Serengeti. Is there one you would recommend? In the Mara we were looking at governor's camp. Would that be good at that time of year?

Thanks again for your helpful insight!

atravelynn Jan 4th, 2009 08:12 AM

Patty and Mark went at that time;tid=34920145

I liked Little Governor's. In Jan, I don't think it is as crucial to place yourself carefully in the Mara, like it is in the Serengeti. Little Gov is in an area that is less crowded with people than the Eastern part of the park.

Here are some links to rainfall #s.

A few years ago there were extra heavy rains around Dec. that bogged down some vehicles and made for tricky driving, even causing some delays and altered plans. Even so, most people were happy with their trips. You never know about weather.

sandi Jan 4th, 2009 01:37 PM

With the exception of more rain than anyone could have expected/wanted end-'06 thru Mar'07, travel in Dec is the "short" rains, if that.

Should there be rain it's usually brief afternoon storms, lasting 30/min thenn all dries. Sometimes you have showers overnight. But then you may have NO rain at all.

The later in Dec you travel, less rain. Weather, however, can never be guaranteed as even during the "dry" season there can be wet.

This amount of water in Dec rarely impacts a safari.

captharry Jan 4th, 2009 03:20 PM

Hi, we were in Kenya from Dec 4 - 15...2 nights in Amboseli, 3 nights in Samburu, 3 nights in Il Moran (governor's camp) and 2 nights in Naibor. The weather was great. Very little rain, early evening showers only 2 nights during entire trip. Cooled things off and was a nice change! Samburu was hot during December but the game drives were great. All of the camps we visited were incredible. Good luck planning!

Yehova Jan 6th, 2009 12:57 AM

Author: eco2
Date: 03/10/2008, 04:48 pm
I got home from a trip to Tanzania in December. While I didn't book with either of the companies you are inquiring about, our driver's brother owns Baeshta safaris and we saw them out on safari. They are Tanzanian and locally owned. They had really nice Land Rovers, which are better than Land Cruisers in staying out of mud. We also were in a Rover and passed so many Cruisers stuck in the mud. You can ask for our driver, Amme, or you can book directly through his own company:
He was awesome!!! I've been to Tanzania before, and Amme was the best driver and guide I've had. He can help you come up with a perfect itinerary. Tell him Erika from NH says hi! I wish we had booked directly with him. Good luck and have fun!

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